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Cattle Producers the Target of Financial Fraud Schemes

Cattle producers are being urged to take extra precautions amid a surge of scams targeting ranchers and associated businesses. Scammers tend to use electronic or phone communications, which makes it more difficult for law enforcement to track down and prosecute the perpetrators.

Cases involving cattle producers in Kansas have involved a scheme of counterfeit checks being mailed to victims from legitimate businesses. These checks mimic financial documents from producer’s actual checking accounts. Although the checks are illegitimate, they are being represented as legitimate transactions between the recipient and the account owner’s business. If you suspect fraudulent activity on your accounts, confirm details with your bank and call law enforcement to report the activity immediately. It is unlikely fraudulent checks are issued as solitary events.

One common scheme is a buyer will send a check or cashier’s check for more than the agreed price, and then ask that the seller send the extra money to someone else to pay for transportation and delivery. The check is often counterfeit so the victim is liable for the funds.

Another common scam will feature con artists falsely advertising items using misleading descriptions and fake photos or videos. In the end, they will deliver inferior products. These are often civil cases, which means law enforcement cannot get involved.

Tips for avoiding fraud:

  • Verify the person you are attempting to do business with is a trusted source.

  • When selling items consider payment options such as an escrow service or online payment system.

  • Never accept a check or cashier’s check for more than the value of the sale.

  • Confirm checks are valid by contacting your bank or the issuing bank.

  • When buying items never issue payment until the items are received unless you have complete trust in the seller.

  • Track bank account activity more regularly than monthly reconciliations.

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